The unflappable Clarke was 125 not out from 208 balls at the close after notching the tourists' first ton of the series with a flicked single, while Steve Smith was unbeaten on 70 after a day of fluctuating fortunes which ended with Australia on top.
               
England, who are 2-0 up in the five-match series and will retain the Ashes at the revamped Manchester venue with a win or a draw, were cheered on by a packed crowd and a lone trumpeter but some pizzazz was missing from their play and the atmosphere.
               
Opener Chris Rogers, 35, fell short of his first Australia century when he was trapped lbw by a fullish ball from spinner Graeme Swann for a test high 84 in the middle session.
               
Replays showed Rogers was right to be given out, but Usman Khawaja's dismissal before lunch was the major talking point.
               
He was adjudged to have been caught behind off Swann for one but reviewed umpire Tony Hill's decision.
               
Third umpire Kumar Dharmasena sided with his colleague despite replays showing no obvious edge in the latest decision review system (DRS) dispute to afflict the series and Australia.
               
Shane Watson earlier got away with several loose shots through the slips, over gully and just short of point but was caught at slip by Alastair Cook off paceman Tim Bresnan for 19.
               
Clarke and Rogers, obeying the message from on high to knuckle down and build an innings after repeated Australian carelessness with the bat this series, were watchful but pounced on any loose bowling as the pacemen struggled with footholes.

(Agencies)

Latest News from Sports News Desk